Legalise those keen to work in the timber sector: STIA
Published on: Sunday, January 20, 2019
By: Hayati Dzulkifli

KOTA KINABALU: The State Government should consider legalising a pool of undocumented people in Sabah to make them eligible solely for employment in the timber industry in view of the shortage.

Sabah Timber Industries Association (STIA) Kota Kinabalu branch Chairman Tan Peng Juan, said the State Government should make use of the situation by giving proper documents basically just to work with limitations and control mechanisms.

“There are lots of discussions going on in providing legal documentation for them (undocumented population) to work. We hope a standardised policy will be finalised soon by the State Government to address the issue of manpower shortage in the sector,” he said, in his speech at the STIA KK Branch Night at Hakka Hall, Friday.

He also presented a cheque of RM2,000 each to five welfare/charity organisations in the event namely Bukit Harapan, Jireh Home in Tuaran, Sabah Cheshire Home, Seri Mengasih Centre and Don Bosco Children’s Home in Bundu Tuhan, Ranau.

Also present were Trade and Industry Assistant Minister Azhar Datuk Matussin, Trade and Industry Assistant Minister Ben Chong, organising chairman of the event Sia Mee Koung cum STIA KK Branch treasurer, heads of departments and agencies, STIA central committee and STIA KK Branch main committee.

Tan said STIA KK Branch carried out several projects to complement and support the initiative of the CM who had emphasised the importance of creating more employment for locals and more value adding creation to downstream timber products.

“STIA has presented a paper on timber downstream scenario to the Task Force Committee on Log Export Ban headed by the Trade and Industry Ministry and STIA also initiated a meeting with the CM to brief on the current status of the downstream timber on Nov. 19, last year.

“As a result of the meeting with CM, STIA KK has been engaging with local institutions including Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Polytechnic Kota Kinabalu and Malaysia Timber Industry Board (MTIB) WISDEC to facilitate employment of the local graduates in timber industries including assisting in seeking internship training.

“With collaboration from these local institutions, we hope more local graduates will contribute back to the industry as well as it is the aspiration of the association (STIA) to ensure local youths develop their career in the wood-based industry in Sabah,” he said.

Tan said STIA KK branch also recommended that Sabah have its own marketing arm as far as promoting timber products and certification is concerned by setting up a marketing and promotion agency similar to the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) in the peninsula.

He also hoped the State Government will continue to look further into problems faced by the timber industries and facilitate in coming up with possible solutions such as:

l Creating solid policies for sustainable supply of raw material

l Ensure priority is given to local mill operators on issuance of cutting license.

l Setting up of log auction platform to facilitate sales of raw material.

l Upgrading port facilities to facilitate shipping and export of finished timber products.

l Reduce the electricity tariff to lessen business production cost.

l Enhancement of other infrastructures facilities such as roads and other form of transportation and most importantly,

l Reduce red tapes to improve provision of a conducive business environment for Sabah.

“2018 was significant to me personally as the STIA KK Branch Chairman as we have a new line-up of branch committee members and a team which has so far performed tremendously well despite all the challenges faced.

“Secondly, as a timber industry player, it was also a year when the State Government announced the ban on export of logs. 

“It is something which the downstream industry has been anticipating for years to materialise, even though more details have yet to be revealed due to legal aspects of the policy.

“However, we are confident the State government under the leadership of  Mohd Shafie will setup policies beneficial to the development of the downstream industry in Sabah,” Tan said.

Meanwhile, STIA President Chua Yeong Perng said the association was formed on March 28, 1981 and incorporated in 1983 that was about 38 years ago.

“We were previously known as Sabah Sawmillers & Timber Exporters Association (SSTEA), later we changed it to Sabah Sawmilling Industries Association (SSIA).

“In 1993, we became STIA to reflect more accurately the composition of our membership which encompasses the various downstream manufacturing industry in Sabah,” he said, adding that STIA now has 231 members.- Hayati Dzulkifli


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